Encouragement for Women with Father Wounds

If you grew up with father wounds, they can affect you deeply and your other relationships, but you don’t need to stay there.

I was married for eight years before I realized there was a name for my pain: father wounds. I was stunned and overwhelmed as I realized how my adolescent interactions with boys, my insatiable need for attention, my insecurity, my fear of failure and of the successes of other women—the absence of my dad had impacted all this and more.

Suddenly I faced a choice. I could continue to mask my pain, or I could deal with it by choosing the less-traveled path of healing and wholeness.

Jesus Heals Hidden Wounds

The Bible tells us of a woman who had to make a choice to move in the direction of healing. In Matthew 9, Mark 5, and Luke 8, we learn of a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She was known as a woman with an issue of blood.

In what seems to be a leap of faith, she made the decision to go and see Jesus. “She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed (Matt. 9:21). This woman simply heard about Jesus. She’d never met Him face­to­face. But she was desperate for a change and believed Jesus could heal her.

She had resilient hope and it paid off, because immediately after she touched Jesus’s cloak, “her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering” (Mark 5:29). That moment must have been overwhelming. But Jesus would not allow her to remain in obscurity. ‘Who touched me?’ Jesus asked” (Luke 8:45).

He had to have known who touched Him. He knew she needed to be affirmed, and so He persisted: “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me” (v. 46).

Jesus could have chastised this woman for touching Him. He could have publicly condemned her action, but He opted instead to patiently listen to her. How comforting this must have been! Then, “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering(Mark 5:34).

This is where we see a loving and compassionate God redefining this unnamed woman

Seek Your Own Healing

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you find yourself at an impasse—deciding whether it’s worth it to unearth repressed pain as it relates to your father. Maybe choosing healing and wholeness feels too risky. I understand, and I found myself at this very juncture right before I reasoned the reward was far greater than the risk. The promise of exchanging my wounds for God’s extravagant love was one I could not pass up.

Acknowledging our wounds appears simple, but it can be quite difficult. It requires admitting we have a problem. We have to be honest about how our father’s actions impacted us. This means revisiting the times when we experienced rejection, shame, abandonment, and hurt at the hand of our father, whether it was done knowingly or unknowingly, and allowing ourselves to say, “That (word or action) wounded me.”

Admittance would be easier if we were talking about the actions of a random stranger, but we’re not. We’re talking about our father’s actions, and the word father comes with a range of emotions. Some of us have fond memories intermingled with wounds when it comes to our father. Others of us are holding onto hope that our father will change. Many of us are attempting to mask the reality of who our father is with the idea of who we want him to be.

By design, we’re wired to love our fathers, and as a result, things can get complicated when we are tasked with admitting we have father wounds. In the name of love and happiness, we’re tempted to cover a multitude of wrongs on his part.

I want to encourage you to glean from the courage of the unnamed woman and pursue healing no matter what it costs you. Remember how she made her way through a crowd that had no understanding of all the days and ways she had suffered? Think about her resolve to reach out to Jesus, and press your way through every obstacle that stands between you and your healing.

You, like me, may find yourself frustrated by your wounds and grieved by the impact they’ve had in your life. Although I was in this place, I chose to take my diagnosis and pursue healing and wholeness, just like the unnamed woman. You can do it too. Take the first step in pursuit of your healing and know the reward far outweighs the risk.


  • How do you think father wounds have impacted you? Your thoughts? Actions? Beliefs?
  • What have you done to heal from your father wounds? Today take a moment to pray to God about your pain and how to move forward.

To learn more about healing wounds from your father, check out Kia Stephens’s book Overcoming Father Wounds. In it, she gives practical tools to help you overcome insecurity, low self-esteem, and unforgiveness so you can connect with God as your loving heavenly Father.

Kia Stephens is the founder of Entrusted Women, which she created to equip Christian women communicators of color. A contributing writer for iBelieve.com, Beloved Women, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Crosswalk, she is a recurring speaker at She Speaks, the Beloved Women’s Conference, and the Entrusted Women’s Conference. Kia’s writing has been featured on (in)courage and Ann Voskamp’s blog. Connect with her online at KiaStephens.com or follow her on Instagram @kianstephens

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